ICT IP Lobbyists Meet Irish Parliament, secure support for Council Presidency Patent Proposal

Story on ENN

A group of ICT industry lobbyists met the European Affairs Committee of the Irish Parliament (Dail) on thursday 2004-05-06.

Now being covered by ENN.

The article quotes Brian Caulfield, Trinity Venture Capital investment director and chair of the ICT Ireland subcommittee on intellectual property management commending the Irish presidency and claiming that the European Parliament's version of the directive would "result in a significant reduction in investment within the EU".

"The Irish government has been proactive and has created a compromise text that eliminates the key amendments that could create a situation in which existing patent portfolios are legally un-enforceable while also protecting intellectual property", added Caulfield.

As an opponent of Caulfield, the article cites Ciaran O'Riordan and the Free Software Foundation (who was not aware of the Parliament session).

See also

To research

"Dáil" is Irish for "parliament" - a Dáil Committee is a very generic term - the Irish government set up such committees to look into legislative issues. We do not know who the group of companies are but we'll try to find out.

From http://www.oir.ie/viewdoc.asp?DocID=1360 :

However the swpat directive doesn't seem to be on their published agenda:

It could be worth telephoning the clerk of the committee to find out just what is going on

probably this is worth doing, to check the ground, before contacting the !TDs (members of parliament) and senators directly.

Further Reports

Irish Radio, 6 May

Summary of an item which went out on the "Morning Ireland" programme http://www.rte.ie/business/2004/0506/mibusiness.html

Trinity Venture Capital's investment director Brian Caulfield says patents are the main mechanism used by high-tech companies to prevent their inventions being copied or used without permission.

He says the directive was aimed at harmonising EU rules, but the European Parliament passed some amendments in September which would make it impossible to patent any software-related invention. Mr Caulfield said he feared this would cost jobs by reducing investment in the sector.

But he said he was happy with the Government's response so far. The Government has prepared an alternative text which the industry is supporting. He hopes this will be adopted.

Report in the Irish Independent, 7 May

Government backed on dilution of IT patent law

MAJOR multinationals, venture capitalists and Irish IT companies yesterday backed efforts by the government to roll-back a potentially devastating EU information technology (IT) patent amendment.

The directive, on the protection by patents of computer-implemented inventions, was originally intended to harmonise the way that national patent laws deal with inventions using software, but the amendment would not only make it more difficult to patent IT inventions but would retrospectively scrap existing patent agreements.

The Irish EU Presidency has proposed an alternative, compromise text that, while allowing harmonisation of EU patent laws, would maintain intellectual property rights.

Brian Caulfield of Trinity Venture Capital said after an Oireachtas Committee meeting that the new amendment would "make it more or less impossible to patent IT inventions and could have an extremely negative effect on R&D investment in the sector".

A spokesperson for multinational giant Hewlett Packard supported Mr Caulfield's claims, saying "We are very concerned that the EU is going in the wrong direction."

Last night, Oireachtas Committee chairman Gay Mitchell said "The dramatic changes proposed have very serious implications for Ireland." He said his committee would be supporting the government's compromise proposal.

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